MOT inspection manual: cars and passenger vehicles

9. Supplementary tests for buses and coaches

Entrance and exit doors, emergency exits, passenger grab handles, steps and stair rules and inspection for bus and coach MOT tests.

9.1. Doors

In this section

9.1.1. Entrance and exit doors

You should only reject a door for deteriorated condition if:

  • its function is impaired
  • it’s likely to cause injury

Emergency controls are only needed on power operated doors. However, power operated doors constructed or adapted for the secure transport of prisoners do not need emergency controls.

If you’re not sure if there’s a ‘door open’ warning device, you should give the benefit of the doubt.

Defect Category
(a) An entrance or exit door defective in operation Major
(b) An entrance or exit door:

(i) excessively deteriorated
(ii) deteriorated and likely to cause injury

(c) An entrance or exit door emergency control inoperative Major
(d) An entrance or exit door remote control or warning device inoperative Major

9.1.2. Emergency exits

You must inspect the emergency exits for all buses and coaches first used on or after 1 April 1988 except those constructed or adapted for the secure transport of prisoners.

Buses and coaches first used on or after 1 April 1988 must have at least one passenger door on the nearside and one of the following:

  • an additional passenger door at the rear - in this case, the bus or coach does not need a designated emergency exit
  • an emergency exit at the rear
  • an emergency exit on the offside (not the driver’s door)

Emergency exits must latch securely closed and be able to be opened from both inside and outside the vehicle (with the door unlocked).

All designated emergency exits must be clearly marked with words such as ‘EMERGENCY DOOR’ or ‘EMERGENCY USE ONLY’. Letters must be upper case and must be at least 25mm high.

If a ‘break glass’ emergency exit is fitted, there must also be a suitable hammer or similar device close to it.

Defect Category
(a) An emergency exit defective in operation Major
(b) An emergency exit sign:

(i) illegible or not in accordance with the requirements
(ii) missing

(c) Missing break glass hammer (where required) Minor
(d) No emergency exit provided (where one is required) or access blocked Major

9.2. Not in use

9.3. Not in use

9.4. Not in use

9.5. Not in use

9.6. Passenger grab handles

You should reject rails and grab handles, including those that form part of the seat back, if they’re either:

  • insecure
  • in a condition likely to cause injury
Defect Category
(a) Not in use  
(b) A passenger grab handle:

(i) defective
(ii) insecure or unusable


9.7. Steps and stairs

You must check all passenger stairs on double deck or split level buses and coaches.

You must reject stairs if they’re likely to either:

  • be a trip hazard
  • cause injury
Defect Category
(a) A step or stair:

(i) in a deteriorated condition
(ii) significantly damaged
(iii) in such a condition as to affect the stability of passengers during use

(b) A retractable step not operating correctly Major